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Bucephalus: why is Alexander’s the Great’s horse famous?
11.03.2021 History Extra
military
Alexander the Great

Bucephalus (c355-326 BC) is among the most famous horses in history, and it was said that this he could not be tamed. The young Alexander the Great, of course, tamed him – and went on to ride his beloved equine companion for many years and into many battles. Bucephalus finally died after the battle of the Hydaspes in what is now Pakistan.

Here, Paul Cartledege, AG Leventis Professor of Greek Culture Emeritus at the University of Cambridge, explains the bond between Alexander and his steed…

One day Philoneicus of Thessaly brought Philip a horse named Bucephalas, offering him for sale. They went down to the plain to look at him and found him to be apparently unmanageable. He allowed no one to mount him, refused to obey the commands of Philip’s grooms, and reared up against anyone who approached him. Philip was angry at being offered an unbroken and vicious animal and told Philoneicus to take him away.

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